Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects nearly 7.5 million Americans and can lead to low self-esteem, social isolation, and depression.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition in which the skin cells grow too rapidly, causing thick, white, or red patches to develop on the skin. Psoriasis most often appears on the knees, elbows, hands, feet, scalp or lower back and most commonly develops in adults, although it can occur in individuals of any age.
Psoriasis Risk Factors
Risk factors that increase the chances of developing psoriasis include:
- Family history
- Smoking –Those who smoke are more likely to develop psoriasis and also more likely to develop a severe form of the disease.
- Obesity – Excess weight on the body contributes to an increased chance of developing psoriasis, as the disease tends to appear in skin creases and folds.
- Bacterial and viral infections – Individuals with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop psoriasis. Children and young adults who have reoccurring infections may also be at an increased risk of developing the condition.
- Stress – Stress suppresses your immune system, leading to an increased chance of developing the disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Psoriasis
Symptoms of psoriasis can vary based on the person and his or her condition, but some of the most common signs are:
- Red patches of scale-like skin
- Small, scaling spots (most commonly found in children)
- Stiff or swollen joints
- Dry or cracked skin
- Itching or burning skin
- Ridged, thickened, pitted nails
Based on the severity of the condition and an individual’s overall health, psoriasis may affect small areas of the body or cover the entire body.
Psoriasis Diagnosis and Treatment
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is best to visit Adena Dermatology for an examination. In addition, if you’ve been diagnosed with psoriasis and your condition begins to interfere with your daily routines or causes pain, seek medical treatment.
Your dermatologist is likely to conduct a physical examination and a skin biopsy on an affected area of your body. Certain medical conditions cause symptoms similar to psoriasis, so a full examination is necessary to diagnose your condition. If psoriasis is diagnosed, your doctor may prescribe topical treatments, oral medications, or a series of light therapy options to prevent the skin cells from growing too quickly. Your dermatologist also may recommend removing areas of skin severely affected by the disease. A combination of medications may be prescribed, although your doctor is likely to begin with the mildest treatments and progress if the condition is unresponsive.
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